7 Causes of Pain Under Right Rib Cage

pain under right rib cage


If you’re reading this page at the very moment, then chances are that you’re experiencing a rib cage pain, particularly a pain under the right rib cage! And you may or may not be aware, but other than the notorious blunt trauma to the chest, there are many more reasons why you’re experiencing this pain under the right rib cage.

The human rib cage is a vital protective bone protecting some of our most vital organs, any pain experienced in this area should be diagnosed and treated immediately!

The first and foremost approach to detecting the cause or your rib cage pain is to sit down, relax, and verify where the pain is coming from because depending on which side the pain is felt, the causes will differ. So make sure that what you’re describing isn’t in fact, pain under the left rib cage, since some pains can start off from the right rib cage, but “travel” towards the left rib cage.

Make sure that the pain you’re describing is coming from below the ribs, specifical pain below the right rib cage.

Now that you’re absolutely sure of where the pain is radiating from and you’re certain that it is pain below the rib cage, now is the time to find out what your pain symptom is trying to tell you.


To begin to understand how dangerous it is to ignore pain, such as the pain under rib cage which you’re feeling now, it is vital to learn about what organs are situated around the lower rib cage.

There are multiple important (duh.. all organs are important) organs that are around the abdomen area which is right underneath the rib cage, and they include intestines, kidneys, pancreas, gallbladder, liver, spleen and if you’re a female, the uterus and ovaries get added to the list too, so if in any case you or someone you know experiences a lower right rib pain, it’s a cause for alarm, it should not be taken lightly!

Causes of Pain Under Right Rib Cage

There could be several numbers of reasons why you’re experiencing pain under right rib cage. It’s advised to get professional medical help if your pain under right rib cage doesn’t subside after a day.


When rib pain is the topic, regardless of the position of the pain, left or right sides of the rib cage, the number one question your chiropractor will ask is if you’ve had any force/ blunt trauma force to the chest wall. This is so as to rule out serious rib injuries such as a dislocated rib, rib fracture, or more subtle injuries like a subluxated rib, a first rib out of place, etc.

When a person experiences an intense force to the chest, subject to the intensity of the impact, the one or more of the ribs could either get dislocated, subluxated or even fractured and that should send the pain springing from either side, hence the person might experience exactly what you are experiencing right now, pain under right rib cage or even pain under the left rib cage.  

pain from an injured rib has no specific area where it is felt, some would experience a lower right rib pain,  others feel an upper right rib pain, and there are some who would feel it either in the upper or lower left rib cage, while some others would feel it “all over the chest”.

T0 learn more about dislocated ribs or subluxated rib injuries, symptoms and treatment, please go here or here.


Irritable bowel syndrome may be another cause of pain under right rib cage.

irritable bowel syndrome according to mayoclinic.org is a chronic disorder commonly specific to the colon or large intestines, and its symptoms are characterized by abdominal pain, cramp, gas, constipation, and diarrhea.

But due to the location of the bowel, this pain can originate from the abdomen, but “extend”  right under the right rib cage! The good news is IBS or irritable bowel syndrome isn’t a life-threatening disease, only a fraction of sufferers experience very severe symptoms, most only have mild symptoms.

In case of rectal bleeding, abdominal pain that only happens during the evening/night, or loss in weight… you should definitely go and see your doctor right away as these could mean a more life-threatening condition.


Wait, what?! If you’re one of those who asks “can gas cause rib pain?” or wondering if you have “gas under rib cage” then the answer is YES.  Trapped gas in the abdomen or the colon can cause pain and discomfort right underneath or behind the rib cage.

If you suspect you’re experiencing gas pain, then it’s best to see a doctor for more professional advice, subsequently stay off carbohydrate-rich foods, starchy and fatty foods too as the consumption of these causes gas pain under right rib cage.


Acid reflux and abdominal ulcers can cause pain below the right rib cage and here’s why. Regurgitation( or the outwards flow of already swallowed food contents from the abdomen)  of food contents and the reflux of acid into the esophagus can cause pain (ranging from sharp to dull pain) under the sternum and the rib cage, hence the pain under right rib cage.

Burning sensation in the throat may occur when one is eating any food item or when there’s a prolonged period of absence of food in the stomach.

Peptic ulcers, especially those that affect the duodenum (the first part of the small intestine), which is also on the right side, too can cause similar pain. In other to avoid future complication risks, it’s advised to get diagnosed by your doctor.


Fecal impaction is caused as a result of severe chronic constipation, and this could be the reason for the pain you feel in your abdomen and right under your ribs, and sometimes under your right breast.  

Some of the symptoms of fecal impaction may include abdominal bloating/cramps, liquid or watery leakage from the anus, rectal bleeding, chest pain, abdominal pain, fast heartbeat and sometimes even lower back pain. Luckily, fecal impaction can be easily treated in no time.

In case of constipation, here is a recommended stool softener that really work wonders!

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Gallstones aren’t just a culprit to under the rib pain, it also can give rise to pain under right breast too!

Sharp piercing pains under your right rib cage (or sometimes, under the left rib cage) that suddenly appeared out of the blue may indeed be a tell-tale sign of gallbladder infections or gallstone.

According to our source at WebMD, gallstones can cause pain in your upper abdomen and the duration of each bout of pain can last anywhere from 15 minutes up to 24hours!

Symptoms of gallstones can sometimes be inconsistent, but most times nausea and vomiting will be present, fever and a speedy heartbeat might be experienced as well. This pain can sometimes travel to the right shoulder. If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, it’s best to get checked out by your doctor for further diagnosis and treatment. Gallstones can be either surgically removed or successfully treated proper medications.


If you don’t know what intercostal muscles are, then you wouldn’t understand how it can cause pain under the right rib cage! Intercostal muscles are a collective group of fibrous tissues (muscles) that bind the ribs together, which is why, when these muscles become inflamed can cause dull or sharp pains. A forceful pull or push to the intercostal muscles can cause pain especially when you breathe, as the intercostal muscles contract during breathing.

rest and pain medication can aid in relieving the paint, but it’s advised to see a doctor if you’re experiencing pain under the right rib cage, this is important so as to rule out any serious illnesses.

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